A new documentary from Samaritan’s Purse and Executive Producer Franklin Graham—brings to vivid life the true story of two American aid workers in West Africa stricken with the deadly Ebola virus and the race against time to get them home and get them treated.
“Samaritan’s Purse workers were holding the last line of defense in a crisis the world was largely ignoring,” said Graham, president and CEO of the relief organization. “Hundreds were dying and it was only growing worse. When the disease struck Dr. Kent Brantly and hygienist Nancy Writebol, we knew we had to get them home for treatment. It was their only chance, yet it was something no one had ever done.”
Featuring interviews with those who fought the outbreak first hand, FACING DARKNESS was filmed on location in Liberia and the U.S. where the events took place. It is a story of true heroes, risking their lives in an effort to stem one of the deadliest epidemics of the century. Ebola infected more than 28,000 people in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, and the disease claimed more than 11,000 lives.
FACING DARKNESS premieres in select U.S. movie theaters for one night through Fathom Events on March 30, 2017.
The Ebola outbreak began in March 2014, and by June it was a raging epidemic. Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol were in ELWA Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, fighting the surge of the killer virus when they caught the disease themselves.
The team at Samaritan’s Purse worked around the clock toward the only hope for Brantly and Writebol. It was something that had never been done—evacuate the Ebola patients to the U.S. for treatment and cure.
MORE THAN A MEDICAL STORY
The true story of Brantly and Writebol’s evacuation, treatment and eventual cure unfolds side-by-side with an inspiring story of faith facing and overcoming fear.
“Faith is not something that makes you safe,” Brantly said, describing his decision to stay in country and fight the disease. “You had to face death in the eye and decide, ‘Who am I going to be today?’”
Complicating the situation—after years of civil war, the people of Liberia deeply distrusted any authority and went so far as to blame the aid workers for spreading the disease. Hospitals and people were attacked. Yet the Samaritan’s Purse team continued to serve.
“I think when there’s a crisis, God wants us to be there,” Graham said of the organization’s commitment to stay in Liberia. “He doesn’t want us to run away. God has put us there for a reason, and he expects us to do something about it.”
Eventually, a change in culture stemmed the spread of the disease, accomplished through a massive public health education program, in which Samaritan’s Purse reached 1.5 million people. One year later, Liberia was declared Ebola free.
FACING DARKNESS not only tells the story of saving Brantly and Writebol, it shows what happens when people choose compassion over fear in service to others.
FACING DARKNESS is directed by Arthur Rasco. It will premiere at the Heartland Film Festival, and has received an Award of Excellence from the Accolade Global Film Competition.
About Samaritan’s Purse International Relief
Samaritan’s Purse works to meet the physical and spiritual needs of individuals in crisis situations. Led by Franklin Graham, Samaritan’s Purse works in more than 100 countries to provide aid to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine and persecution. For more information visit www.samaritanspurse.org.